This article in Gamasutra: Industry News – “Games for Health: Why You Should Care About Virtual Worlds” (May 13) is about using games to develop higher level reasoning skills in health education. One of the four examples is nursing instructor John Miller, who has been developing a Second Life virtual emergency room for his nursing students at Tacoma Community College. Students create an avatar that interacts with avatar patients created by Miller. These ‘patients’ have symptoms that nursing students solve in the safety of a virtual world.
Another game, Whyville, is a virtual world for preteen girls. According to the developer, Dr. James Bower: “The world attempts to infuse its users with knowledge gained through a ‘pull’ educational structure – the participants seeking out the knowledge themselves – rather than the ‘push’ structure that is dominant in more traditional education,” which Bower criticizes as being a holdover from the Middle Ages.
Posted by Sidnee Wheelwright.